April 27, 2013

Week-end Lessons Learned

At my job, “Lessons Learned” are what we assess, discuss, and analyze at the end of a project. By looking at a completed project as something that can be learned from, rather than something that simply goes away when the project is complete, the team is forced to look at a completed project as a series of potential lessons that can be applied to future projects or tasks.

I like to think of life this way, too. As we navigate through life, we know only what we know at the time, but if we’re continually open to learning from our experiences (which consist of a combination of both mistakes and successes) we become better, more evolved people.

My personal Lessons Learned from this week are as follows:

1. When in doubt always carry flats in your bag. Heels are necessary with certain outfits – dresses, skirts, slacks – but they are inappropriate and uncomfortable for walking around a city. With heels on your feet and flats in your bag, you can have the best of both worlds.

 2. Strip clubs are really just bars with naked chicks in them. The dancers do not necessarily have better bodies than you do and some even have small tatas. Also, they carry shiny pink wristlets to collect their dollar bills, which they’re not afraid to count in public.

3. When you’re traveling, the only thing you can count on is a healthy breakfast. So pay for that $7 oatmeal. It may be the only chance you get for a healthy meal and it’s likely not much more expensive than the cardboard-tasting cereal bar at the hotel store.

 4. The “Little Burger” at Five Guys might possibly be better than sex and is completely worth breaking your predominantly plant-based diet for.  The fries are great too -- don't get me wrong -- but the Little Burger is truly something special.

 5. When a man at a bar says to you,“You’re gorgeous/Can I get your number?/Are you married?/What do you do? I’m a lawyer” and then sticks out his limp-like-spaghetti hand, go ahead and believe it when he says you’re gorgeous (because - why the heck not?), but don’t believe that he’s a lawyer.  Also, when someone of the opposite sex comes up to you and asks you if you are a particular nationality, such as Scandinavian or Norwegian, apparently that’s a come-on. Take it as a compliment and tell him/her you’re American.

 6. The music at W Hotels is always sexy and intoxicating and is the inspiration for my obsession with iTunes playlists.  Why I like music that makes me feel sexy and intoxicating is no matter, but you can score the soundtrack here.

7. Jazz-soul artist Alice Smith is back with a vengeance, and her new album, She, includes Cee-Lo Green's cover of "Fool For You," which is just sick. The entire album is raw, soulful, and classy, just the way I like it.

8. There are these Asian noodles called "Pasta Zero Plus" that have only 20 calories per serving. But don't get too excited. They're actually kind of disgusting, contain no nutritional value, don't fill you up (duh, right?), and are just not worth the $3.

April 12, 2013

Five TGIF Thoughts

1. Just because I have an English degree doesn’t mean that other people’s pronunciations don’t sometimes make me second guess what I previously believed to be grammatically or phoentically correct. For example, I’ve been hearing smart people pronouncing breakfasts as breakfastses lately and it’s gotten me all confused and paranoid.  It's breakfasts, right?  Same goes for the word suppose used in the following manner: “It was suppose to be fun.” It’s supposed, right? Right?  Please tell me I'm right.  (But if I'm not, please don't say I'm right just to be nice.)

2. If you’re in the market for a Rolls Royce sports bra (and as a lass who wants to keep her girls “high and tight” I think you should be), this is the one. For the past couple years, I’ve been wearing this Cadillac-level sports bra, and it’s been extremely supportive, albeit a bit of a failure in the comfort department (think lots of digging in the ribcage during crunches).  The Panache bra is a much smoother ride. A little flashy and a little pricy, maybe, but no one said taking good care of your goods is cheap.  Editor's Note: this recent French study just released suggests that bras don't prevent sagging; however, study results are "preliminary."  Until then, I'm going to continue to support mine, especially during l'exercice.

3. I have always always written off country music as honky-tonk hunky dory, rhythmless, and BORE-ing.  Even in the past several years with the whole country-cum-pop movement did I refuse to jump on that train. But last weekend I heard Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” on the radio and it made me feel like I was 15 again, and I kinda liked it. You know the way Ben Folds Five's Whatever and Ever Amen makes you feel? Yeah, that's what I mean. Of course, as soon as got home I had to download the song, which was shortly followed by a download of the entire album. Now I’m a fan of The Band Perry too. What the hell is wrong with me? (Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?)

4. I read this quote from Portia de Rossi today and it captured the essence [of those who are choosing not to have children] beautifully:

       There comes some pressure in your mid-30s, and you think, Am I  
       going to have kids so I don’t miss out on something that other people
       really seem to love? Or is it that I really genuinely want to do this with my
      whole heart? I didn’t feel that my response was ‘yes’ to the latter. You have
      to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it’s just going to be me
      and Ellen and no babies -- but we’re the best of friends and married life is
      blissful, it really is. I’ve never been happier than I am right now.

5. A spray tan has the power to make you feel super sexy (not to mention, tight and toned in all the right places), especially in April if your skin hasn’t seen the light of day since September.  Who cares if you're not going to be wearing a bikini anytime soon?  Plus, with a spray tan, you can elect to get a subtle tan line here and there, because let's just be real: tan lines are pretty hot.

April 7, 2013

Just a lovely April weekend.

I love a good weekend spent in the nest, where I can get caught up on housework, dig out the clutter in my closets, and experiment with new recipes for a Saturday night meal – all, of course, at a leisurely yet bustling pace.  (It sounds contradictive, but you know what I mean, right?)

Since completing my 21-day cleanse a couple weeks ago I have introduced grains back into my diet, but otherwise have predominantly maintained the eating regimen.  (Full disclosure, though:  I did enjoy my first Gifford’s chocolate-chip ice cream of the season on Easter Sunday.  And yes, it was amazing.) 

They say a habit (good or bad) takes 21 days to develop, and during the cleanse I realized that I could actually give up certain foods I never thought I could cut out of my diet, like refined carbs (Crackers! Croutons!  Candy!), for example.  Now, with the exception of off-beat cravings for Popeye’s fried chicken and homemade brownies (of which I will still allow myself to indulge in on occasion, because let's just be reals here), my desire for non-inflammatory alkaline foods (green vegetables, etc.) has come to satisfy my in palate in ways I never thought possible, which is still just crazy to me, but alas.  In addition, I’ve continued my morning ritual of drinking freshly made green juice because it makes me feel amazing and energetic and quite frankly because now I don’t want to start my day with anything else.  Oh, how I love the power of habit, especially when it's a positive one!

Leading a healthy lifestyle is easy and fun when you’re around people who share the same interest, and I'm very lucky that way.  Having my husband’s new business partner and his wife over for dinner was particularly enjoyable because they are gluten free (and have been for years).  It was a fun challenge to marry a plant-based meal with a gluten-free one.  For starters, I made Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kale salad, a delicious salad made by “massaging” the tough kale leaves along with avocado and red peppers, finished with fresh-squeezed lemon and cayenne pepper and oil (which I actually replaced with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar since the salad would be moist enough with the 1.5 avocado).   I kid you not when I say that it was kind of orgasmic, which I used to say about chocolate cake, and I still think that, but now I might have to relegate this kale salad to that category as well.

For the main dish, I made a vegetable lasagna, of which the “noodles” were thinly sliced summer squash and zucchini, and kale and walnut pesto.  As I cut into the dish, I warned everyone: “This may not be my greatest culinary achievement yet” fearing that it might be a dreadfully boring amalgam of bland stewed vegetables.  Thankfully I was wrong – it was flavorful and rich tasting and also a huge hit, paired with my guests’ delicious homemade gluten-free garlic rolls.  I capped the meal off with a tofu and avocado chocolate mousse sweetened with fresh Maine maple syrup and honey, which I will definitely be making again.  (Only problem was the recipe made only four tiny ramekin-sized servings.)

And today is Sunday, my favorite day of the week.  No schedule; no commitments; PJs until noon. Just the way I like it.

April 6, 2013

Have you heard?

If you haven't heard of Charles Bradley you should, especially since he just released his second album, aptly titled Victim of Love.  I've admittedly only given the album a first spin, but at first listen my favorite track thus far is "Strictly Reserved For You."  The video is equal parts tender, aesthetically mesmerizing, and silly. 

So, without any further adieu.